LITTLE ROCK — The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas, cooperating attorneys John E. Tull III and Noah P. Watson today filed a federal lawsuit against Kristi Stahr in her capacity as Chairwoman of the Pulaski County Board of Election Commissioners, and Commissioners David Scott and Susan Inman for violating an election official's First Amendment rights.
Plaintiff Barry Haas' free-speech rights were disregarded when he was denied an appointed position for the September 2021 special Little Rock tax election due to his personal political and ideological views.
“Barry Haas has served Pulaski County with integrity and dedication for nearly 20 years, making sure our elections are run smoothly and according to the law,” said Gary Sullivan, legal director of the ACLU of Arkansas. “Like all Americans, Mr. Haas has the right to free speech under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and this sacred right was violated when he suffered retaliation for his personal political views at the hands of the Pulaski County Board of Election Commissioners.”
The lawsuit alleges Haas was denied the appointed position after a Board of Election Commissioners meeting where Chairwoman Stahr claimed he was refusing in person and on social media to follow Arkansas’s photo I.D. requirement as an election official.
“I previously challenged Arkansas’s voter-identification laws requiring photo I.D. in court, because I believed the laws were unconstitutional and bad policy,” said Barry Haas. “Contrary to Chairwoman Stahr’s false claims, I have always upheld all election laws, never said I would refuse to follow the law and I do not maintain any social media accounts.”
The case was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.